For players and listeners alike, the viola quintets of Mozart stand among the highest examples of chamber music. There are many who would not hesitate to name the most often heard of them (the C major and G minor) as representing some of the finest music in our heritage, in any category. The Fine Arts Quartet, which recorded these masterpieces for Vox, was a distinguished American ensemble, tracing its beginnings to the early 1940s in Chicago. Military service in World War II intervened, however, and it was not until 1946 that the definitive career of the quartet began, with members Leonard Sorkin and Joseph Stepansky, violins; Shephard Lehnhoff, viola; and George Sopkin, cello. With the 2d violin and viola changing a number of times, the Quartet with founding members Sopkin and Sorkin performed until about 1981. A recent collection of previously unissued broadcast performances by the Quartet on Music & Arts received international acclaim, and a 2800 word essay on the Quartet appeared in the April 28 issue of Chamber Music Magazine (USA).
W.A.Mozart: The Complete Viola Quintets. The Fine Arts Quartet: Leonard Sorkin, Violin 1; Abram Loft, Violin 2; Bernard Zaslav, Viola; George Sopkin, Cello; with Francis Tursi, 2d Viola. Disc 1: (1:19:37). Viola Quintet in B flat, K174 (20:52). Viola Quintet in D, K593 (24:05). Viola Quintet in C, K515 (34:40). Disc 2: (1:19:31) Viola Quintet in G minor, K516 (33:32). Viola Quintet in C minor, K 406 [K516b] (21:38). Viola Quintet in E flat, K614 (24:21). Originally released on 3 LPs in 1975 as Vox Box-#SVBX 557. Recorded in 1974 in the small recital hall of the University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee. Producer, engineer & editor: Leonard Sorkin; Assistant Engineer: John Stoll. This CD set issued under license from Vox Music Group. AAD. UPC# 0-17685-11592-9.